The Senators acquired Ryan, the second player chosen in the 2005 NHL Draft, from the Anaheim Ducks on July 5. The deal was announced not long after Alfredsson, Ottawa's longtime captain and the face of the franchise, left the Senators to sign with the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent.
No matter how well Ryan may perform on the ice, he knows that replacing Alfredsson's impact on the Senators and the community figures to be impossible.
"I don't think there's anyone who's going to take that place, especially with what he's done in the community," Ryan told the media on Wednesday in his first visit to Ottawa since the trade. "If anyone's going to do that, it's going to be Spezz [Jason Spezza].
For now, though, the New Jersey native is delighted to be back in the East and is ready to get started with his new team.
"Honestly it was a lot of elation," Ryan told The Team 1200 Wednesday when asked about his reaction to the deal. "It was kind of one of those weird things where we knew it was coming and I think we'd been prepared for it for a while, but you just don't quite understand it until you get that phone call.
"It took a couple of days for it to sink in, but it has been nothing but eagerness to get here and get things started from there."
The Senators paid a healthy price to get Ryan, whose streak of four consecutive 30-goal seasons ended when he scored 11 times and finished with 30 points in 2012-13. They gave up promising youngsters Jakob Silfverberg and Stefan Noesen as well as their first-round pick in next year's NHL Draft.
Ryan, 26, has a $5.1 million cap hit on a contract that expires after the 2014-15 season, according to CapGeek, but he told the station he'd be willing to consider an extension when the time comes.
"You look at a team that gave up what they gave up, and they gave up some good young players and then they gave up a first-round draft pick, and you just want to reward them for what they gave up," he said. "For me, this is a new start on that and you just want to be a part of that group and want to be part of that core.
"Obviously we can't even talk about it and I think most people think that we need to do it right away, but I want people to know that we can't even talk about it for another year. It's a calendar year away for me."
Ryan, who came up as a right wing, spent much of his time in Anaheim on the left side and some at center -- not surprising on a team that featured Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne as its first two right wings. He could wind up playing on the right side with Spezza, but told the Team 1200 that he's prepared for anything after his time in Anaheim.
"I was always a right winger and that never really changed," he said. "But with Anaheim I've played center, I've played left wing … I've played a little bit of everything and I think that I'm starting to get more and more comfortable on the right wing towards the end of where I was in Anaheim. But if you play the right wing there, you have to play behind Perry and Teemu and that was tough to do so they moved me to left and I got comfortable there.
"Whatever Ottawa has in store for me, I'm ready to do. I think I can play all three positions pretty comfortably now."
After spending his NHL career up to now in Anaheim, a non-traditional hockey market, Ryan admitted it would take a little time to get used to playing in a hockey-mad market like Ottawa.
"It's a completely different culture from what it's been like the past six years," he said. "[Being in Ottawa] is a completely different way of viewing hockey. I can't wait to be a part of it.
"To wear the red on that game day has to be something special. I can't wait to embrace that."